This lecture explores the implications of Christ’s words in Luke 24:44-45, ‘‘’These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” As Irenaeus wrote in the second century, “The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the word of God and his Spirit.”
The early church’s main concerns were two: to demonstrate that when read aright the Hebrew Bible pointed to Christ; and to develop an hermeneutic that would allow the nature of God and the divine will to be discerned through the texts. The Patristic authors argued that both testaments spoke with one voice about one God and one Son, and that both were the work of one Spirit. The narrative of Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection functioned as the hypothesis, or pattern of meaning, that ran throughout the whole of the Bible, giving it unity in all its literary variety. As Augustine explained in the City of God, “we track down the hidden meanings of inspired Scripture,” in the belief that the historical narratives are “always to be interpreted with reference to Christ and his church.”
We often associate priesthood with the classical catholic account, which is hard to reconcile with more protestant leanings. On the other hand, our culture is unremittingly functional, and offers a job-description that sucks out all the mystery. Is there a third way to see priestly calling? And why should it matter to the rest of us? And what might it offer to the church in its contemporary challenges?
This public lecture was one of a series for the Ecclesial University Project, in association with Wycliffe College (Toronto), and St. John’s College (Winnipeg)